September 2015 Book of the Month.
A wonderfully eloquent, heartfelt and touching recollection of the author’s relationship with her brother, after he has been told he has inoperable cancer and a short time left to live. Alison Clink not only details the last months of her brother’s life, she also remembers their history together, it’s as though she has opened up a time capsule of memories to share and pay tribute to him. Thoughts and feelings are described so clearly, you feel you are witnessing them first hand; how the brain can exist in a foggy cloud of disbelief, fear and inadequacy at the onset of a terminal illness of a loved one. The honesty is striking, both in terms of emotions revealed and the empathy or lack of, from the people in the caring and medical profession. This book isn't just about heartache and suffering, it is very much a book about friendship and love and deserves to be highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson
A message from the Author...
I am a writer, so after family and friends, writing is the most important thing in my life. In the summer of 2007 I realised I was in an extraordinary place in my life when my brother rang to tell me he’d been diagnosed with cancer. I decided to document what was happening to me – and to him – and began writing a diary when I was on the train coming back from London to the West Country after first visiting him in St.Georges Hospital in Tooting. My son had given me a leather bound notebook for my birthday and I happened to have it in my handbag. So I just started writing down what I’d done that day and my thoughts surrounding the events connected to my brother’s illness.
Adrian was dying and I was his next of kin. As the weeks passed, I did everything I could to help him. He was an inspiring person and I loved him. But his life had gone downhill and he needed me. Despite the differences in our lifestyles – me a country wife with four children and a pet dog, - Adrian a confirmed bachelor and city dweller with no dependants – we came together for the last weeks of his life. I didn’t always make good decisions when trying to help him, but I did my best. At times he wasn’t the easiest person to deal with but I could understand why.
Writing about something traumatic in one’s life is a good way to deal with what’s going on. Not only did I write my way through those sometimes dark and difficult days but I also managed to make sense of what had happened when I looked back on my journals in the years that followed. They say writing is cathartic, which is a cliché but true, but what I did also gave me a sense of detail that I’d never have retained had I not kept my notebook – which actually turned into five notebooks as I scribbled my way through that strange summer of 2007.
Later I added sections about our early lives together as children. I enjoyed revisiting memories of growing up together in south London in the fifties and sixties and lots of those memories defined the relationship Adrian and I as siblings had always enjoyed.
~ Alison Click
In June 2007 whilst out walking my dog, I opened a text from my brother saying: Am in St Georges - Rodney Smith Ward. Ring me. A. Alison's brother Adrian had been admitted to St. George's Hospital in Tooting with a cut hand and low blood pressure. Tests had led to more serious concerns and he was calling on Alison to be with him when the consultant brought results of a biopsy on his lung. Alison heeded his call and took the train up to London the next day, only to find that the results weren't available. She then went back to Somerset, with no idea of what the next few months would hold for them both. Whilst juggling her home life - at a time when her four children still lived at home - with long-distance hospital visiting, Alison tried her best to cope and make plans when Adrian eventually told her that, following the results, he'd been given a year to live. She had no idea then that he wasn't being entirely truthful...The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle is a unique combination of pathos, humour and an insight into what happens when ordinary lives are faced with the extraordinary. Much of the book details the relationship between Alison and her brother and how it was tested as he deteriorated. It is a book for anyone who has lost someone they've cared about - or come into contact with the hospital superbug, C.diff., which, along with a heart attack, killed Adrian before the cancer could.
'Alison Clink has written a haunting, beautiful memoir. She palpably evokes the milieu of their London childhood and takes us through all the twists and turns of a sibling relationship as the years pass. The Man Who Didn't Go To Newcastle documents a terminal illness but it restores a life. Elegantly written with great tact and without shying away from hard truths, it is not so much a memoir of mourning as a love poem.' Jonathan Wilson
Publication date: 28/04/2015
Publisher: Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing
|Publication date:||28th April 2015|
|Publisher:||Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Memoirs, Coping with illness & specific conditions, Family & relationships,|
Over 50 of Alison Clink's short stories have been published in the UK (mainly in Woman's Weekly and Take A Break's Fiction Feast) and abroad. Her work has been broadcast on Radio 4 and she's had articles published in Stella magazine and the Guardian. Her short plays have been performed locally and she created the Frome Festival Short Story Competition. Alison currently teaches creative writing at Babington House in Somerset. Author photo © Phil BishopMore About Alison Clink